CU’s mixed values
June 21, 2010
It is shocking that the University of Colorado, the Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado Board of Regents should consider demolishing their collaborative facility, the Given Institute, for cold cash. Aspen is used to speculators, but not in the form of institutions dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge.
The Given is more than a venue for medically oriented seminars and lectures. It was at the Given that I had my greatest theater experience in Aspen, a staging of “Equus,” in which the space’s clinical calm and adaptability to theater-in-the-round created the perfect setting for that battle between uncontrolled passions and science-backed psychiatry. The intimacy and tranquility of the Given also provided an ideal locale for the Aspen Writers’ Conference, both inside and out.
Harry Reese, a significant architect of American modernism, designed the Given Institute. His low-lying structure does not intrude on an important neighbor, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen’s civic encounter with the wild, which would be seriously scarred by a trophy house looming over its cottonwoods and its pond.
Learning facilities of the Eastern Slope have no business destroying a learning facility of the Western Slope. The potential hypocrisy reeks. Fortunately there is still time for these institutions, supported in part by Aspen tax dollars, to step back from this cultural destruction.
I join many offended Aspenites in hoping that these institutions’ own values will prevail.
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